New Lovers: Artist PAUL CHAN Talks About his Foray Into the World of Erotic Literature

In 2010, artist PAUL CHAN founded his publishing project Badlands Unlimited with the mandate of “creating books in an expanded field.” With works ranging from a collection of essays by Saddam Hussein entitled On Democracy (2012) to How to Download A Boyfriend, billed as the first-ever group show in the form of an e-book for the iPad, the project has grown in scope and reputation since its inception. Chan’s latest effort is “New Lovers“, a series of erotic books written by women which was presented last spring at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Writer Tommaso Speretta met with Chan a few hours before the opening of Hippias Minor, a site-specific project he has conceived for the Deste Foundation’s Slaughterhouse in Hydra.  On view until September 30th, the project reinterprets Plato’s dialogue through an outdoor installation and a special publication. Speretta spoke with Chan about his passion for books, Badlands Unlimited, and the motives behind his foray into the world of erotic literature.

TOMMASO SPERETTA: How and why was Badlands Unlimited born?

PAUL CHAN: Badlands came about because I needed a day job during a long stretch of time when I was not making work or showing any new work. How it was born is remarkably similar to how anything worth being born comes about: by necessity.

Promotional image for “New Lovers”. Courtesy of Badlands Unlimited

What do you think is behind the proliferation of independent publishing projects?

This is only speculation: one publishes when the notion of the public is at stake, or up for grabs. For some, like Kant, a public is forged and maintained through reading. Literacy is its grammar and books its form, in whatever format. Whether or not this is the case today, Artists, writers, poets, and theorists publish whenever they believe a public must be built, maintained, or dismantled.

What motivates an artist to start to working within the restrictions of the independent publishing world?

We may have a difference in opinion here. Being independent lessens restrictions, which is why it looks and feels more—well—independent.

Are all these publishers necessary?

☀⋰⋰☸⋰⋰☸⋰⋰☀⋰⋰☸⋰☀ People
⋰⋰☀⋰⋰☸⋰⋰☀⋰⋰☸⋰⋰☀
who
enjoy
┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤ do
┤┤┤┤┤not
┤┤judge. ░║•║
║•╚═╝ • ║ • • • ║• • • ║• ╚═╝•║
║(Y) • • • • •║• • • ║ • • • • •(Y)║

What makes one publishing project more interesting than another to you?

……………Does the interested ……………………..,-” ever obey the law? ”¯””-,
………………… When one is interested,…………….,~”……….Ä
……………………………,~”…………,..Ä it is because interest is useful enough to be beautiful.
………………………,-“………………….|
…………….…… . . .“-~“ . . ¯¯¯¯¯””~-,
……………|………………Beauty is in fact what is useful enough to us to be an extension of who we
happen to be. ..| .,-“……………………/..|……….………/………… ……………|………………..Ä . . . ._ .
. . . . . . . “-,„„„-”……………|..……………..”-, . .(..”~,————~”
…………….|._………………..”~,..”~-‘—,………………,–~~-,
………….,~” . ¯”~,……………….¯”~~-”,-Ä………….,-“-,”~, . .”-,
……….,-“….,~”,-~”Ä…..-‘.,„„„………………”-,……….|…………..’…|
…The ……………../…………………….……|
… law, ……………./…………………..,„_„…|
… written before this discovery, has power over only those who have not found anything useful
enough to be beautiful, and vice versa. ……………,-,-~-,-~’,
……………../……………….,-“ ( . . o)_º)
……………./………………./. . . . . . . . . . . . . ,-~“~,
……………|………………..| . . . . . . . . . . . . /::::::::Ä
……………|………………..| . . . . . . . . . . . . |:::::::::l
. . “-, ”-, . There is a place
where this does not apply..……………/……
………..Ä,,-“,~”……/…..,-“ . .”-,…………..’-,.”-,……..) . . . .”-,,-
………….’-,……..(,–,.,-“ . . . . |…………….”-,”-,,(“-~”-,””~~~”
…………….¯”””¯,-“, .), . . . . ,-“……………….”-,Ä,.”..,-“
………………….’-, .”.,“-,_„„~”……………………”.”-,”
…………………..”~”-,.Ä,…,–~~~-,………………,~’,
…………………………¯”~/ . . . . . .)……………,”-~’,
………………………..…./ . . . . . . |–„„„„„„–,~””¯ . .

What is the role of a publisher in society? And what is the role of an artist?

,,
_\_ ,)_) A work is most )++++\ 0\ \\
social when society
\_( ,__, )> _\_
‘ o/o / // )++++\ 0\
`7_( // \_(
_\_ _\\(( cannot be ‘
)++++\ 0\ ( , ` \
\_( //\__\/
‘ __/> \_\______deducible from it.
‘) ) / _’___, )
~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ “` ~~~/ /~~~ ~)/~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~ ~~ ~~ (_( ~ //_
~~~ ~ )\~~

Why have you decided to move into erotic literature?

The simple answer is that we wanted to.

God_03

SketchUp drawing by Paul Chan for Badlands Unlimited’s “New Lovers” series, 2015. Courtesy of Badlands Unlimited

And why did you choose to only publish stories written by women?

Again, only speculation, from an amateur publisher: women write better erotica, by far.

Do you have any words for any of the women in the world who might have an erotic manuscript hidden in her closet?

She should send it to operator@badlandsunlimited.com and please note that we are looking for works of 15,000 to 18,000 words in length, in any language.

Promotional image for New Lovers. Courtesy of Badlands Unlimited

Promotional image for “New Lovers”. Courtesy of Badlands Unlimited

Is there any particular kind of sexual language that you’re looking for?

Yes. Erotic ones. We are also looking for what we call erotic parodies. Badlands would love to publish works lampooning, say, ISIS, or the Ferguson Police Department. Or Ted Cruz.

When you get a manuscript, how does the selection process work?

Everyone at Badlands (Ian Cheng, Micaela Durand, Matthew So, Parker Bruce) reads it and we meet two or three times to edit it (if we accept it). We also have an inner circle of readers that give us feedback and suggestions. The manuscripts usually go through three to four rewrites before it goes to our intrepid copyeditor, who works with the author to finish the work.

What is the main difference between the way men and women write about sex?

The main difference is that he’s a man and she’s a woman. Also.
The normal or original life of ____
.X+. .
.Xx+-. .
XXx++-.. sex
XXxx++–..
`was ☀⋰⋰☸ incorporeal and spiritual. ⋰☀⋰⋰☸⋰⋰☀ `XXXxxx’ ☀⋰⋰☸⋰⋰☀⋰⋰☸⋰⋰⋰⋰⋰☸⋰☀
┤┤As ┤sex ┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤┤dons ┤these
┤┤ various ┤ envelopes, ┤┤┤┤
however, the purity of its intellectual activity diminishes. It needs images. This is why these successive
envelopments donned by sex in the course of its time in life amounts to so /~~~~\/~~~~\/~~~~\/~~~
~\/~~~~\/~~~~\/~~~~\/~~~~\
| |~\/ /~| || |~\/ /~| || |~\/ /~| || |~\/ /~| |
\ \/ /\/ / \ \/ /\/ / \ \/ /\/ / \ \/ /\/ /
\ \/\ \/ \ \/\ \/ \ \/\ \/ \ \/\ \/
__/\ \/\ \____/\ \/\ \____/\ \/\ \____/\ \/\ \__
___/\__/\______/\__/\______/\__/\______/\__/\___ many deaths.
\_/
,’.
,’ `.
\ /
\___/

How do you define eroticism?

Works of erotica presume that the brain is the biggest sex organ.

Does your idea for the erotic book series come from a certain philosophy?

That’s easy. It begins and ends with Diotima.

You’ve just realized a site-specific project for the Deste Foundation inspired by Plato’s Hippias Minor (also known as “On Lying”). Why Plato?

Why Plato?
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱
╲╱╲╱╲ ╱╲ ╱╲╱╲╱╲╱ ╲
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲ The comprehension of things by the imagination uses reason as the means to articulate feelings of ٩(++̮̮̃)̃۶╱╲╱╲
intuition in the
`11¶¶¶¶¶¶ construction of concepts `12¶¶¶¶¶¶ `13¶¶¶¶¶¶ (s0o o0n)
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱
╲╱╲╱╲ ٩(++̮̮̃)̃۶╱╲╱╲╱╲ ╱╲╱╲╱╲╱ ╲
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲ ╱╲╱╲╱ ╲╱╲
╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱ Now ★ if in the act of articulation there is pleasure ━━❥then the
thing must be regarded as meaningful insofar as it casts light on a reality greater than what bears
singularly on the subject ★ ╰დ╮❤╭დ╯ When the form of a thing is judged without regard to what
a thing is •´❤ ❤ < then the ▕╰╭╮╲┈┈┈┈ pleasure > in such an act is connected necessarily with how
this form elicits for the subject articulating it a feeling of sympathy in concordance with the imagination
as an expression of
╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱prefigural power. ╲╱╲╱╲٩(●●̮̮̃)̃۶╱╲╱╲╱╲
╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱
╱╲╱╲╱ ╲╱

The project is also accompanied by a book entitled Hippias Minor or The Art of Cunning. What is the art of cunning?

Find out by reading the book as a limited paperback or ebook for Apple iBooks and Amazon Kindle.

And – if there’s any connection – how is it related to eroticism?

Again, it begins and ends with Diotima.

How do you think we experience our erotic desires and taboo fantasies today?

˛ 。˚ ˚ ˛★ 。* It is difficult ° 。 ° ˚* ˚★ 。* 。*。 • ˚
˚ ˛ • \。˚ ˚ ˛★ 。* ★ 。* 。 ° 。 ° ˚* ˚★ 。。 • ˚
˚ ˛ •˛•*\。˚ ˚ ˛★ 。* 。* 。 to not love friendship, but not impossible. In truth, it is precisely because it is so
rare to not love friendship that this state or guiding principle must be protected and strived for. It has
already been mentioned that Aristotle on his deathbed said,
。˚ ˚ ˚ ˛★ 。 。* 。 ° 。 ° ˚* ˚★ 。。 •
˛★ 。 “Friends, there is no friend.” ° 。 ° ˚* ˚★ 。* 。*。 • ˚
˚ ˛ • \。˚ ˚ ˛★ 。* ★ 。* 。 ° 。 ° ˚* ˚★ 。。 • ˚
˚ ˛ •˛•*\。˚ ˚ ˛★ 。* 。* But one does not need Aristotle to be reminded of this. !_|___|MMMMMMMMM|
|lllll|
|!!!!!!|=========|MMMMM| |lllll|_______
|!!!!!!|=========|MMMMM| _|lllll|HHHHHHH|
|!!!!!!|=========|MMMMM| ________|lllllllll|HHHHH|
|!!!!!!|=========|MMMMM| |unununun|lllllllll|HHH
|!!!!!!|=========|MMMMM| |nunununu|lllllllll|HH|:::::::::| Go to any bank and accept a casual
erotic encounter and experience for yourself what philosophers have known for some time.
When will the respective meal prize the stamp? •:*¨`*:•.♥
ὺ.ύ
ὸ.ό :
(*≗*) It is hard to say.

If you were a female erotic writer sending your manuscript to Badlands, how would you title your first book?

I wouldn’t write for Badlands. Too amateurish.

Paul Chan’s Hippias Minor is on view at the Deste Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, until September 30th.